Team Britney struggles to survive in the wake of Willie's departure, while Frank and Mike Boogie expand their empire

By Darren Franich
July 26, 2012 at 02:50 AM EDT
S14 E6
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I’ve noted before that Shane the House Flipper is a very handsome man. It’s an unavoidable observation. He has skin colored olive-brown like the sands of the Mediterranean. His ebony-black hair is styled upward, like a wave crashing on the shore at midnight during a full moon. His chin is like an aircraft carrier plunging through those dark moonlit waves, and the aircraft carrier is firing brain-missiles of raw hypnotic beauty out of his eye sockets. What I’m trying to say is that Shane looks like Joey Fatone if Joey Fatone had been Justin Timberlake. He looks like the guy who plays the villain on an episode of White Collar. I suspected that he was just a pretty face and figured he would A) go home early, or B) hang out as a meatshield for one of the smarter players.

I was wrong. On last night’s episode, Shane was backed up against a corner. Before Willie got disappeared from the Big Brother house by Mama Grodner’s bullyboys, he apparently went on a haterade bender. He didn’t just turn the house against him; he turned the house against everyone in his circle. The remaining members of Team Britney were flailing. Jojo begged Frank for mercy, but Frank had no mercy to offer her. “I told you: Vote for me, and I can trust you,” said Frank. “Y’all stuck with Willie.”

I’m getting the vibe that Frank is emerging as a fan-favorite this season. I can understand why. He’s a smart player and a serious competitor in physical competitions. He also just seems like a genuinely good dude. He’s quick with a smile. But there’s an undeniable John Wayne side to Frank’s personality. And I don’t mean like John Wayne in Rio Bravo; I mean like John Wayne in The Searchers, a man you don’t want to mess with, a man who will not forgive. To complete the film analogies, Frank has the genial personality of Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance but also has the harsh moral code of John Wayne in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is such a good movie, you guys.

Frank was laser-focused on decimating Team Brit-Brit. In the process, he ignored the potentially sneakier move by a suddenly-revived Mike Boogie: Pack the block with loyal teammates, seize the veto, and backdoor Shane. Now, I’ve been very critical of Uncle Boogie this season, since so far he’s mostly been swanning around the house looking like a divorced dad who just walked out of a shopping spree at Hot Topic. But that was a damn sneaky plan. Maybe it was too sneaky. Maybe it would have backfired in a big way. Still, you get the sense that Boogie — having gotten his first taste of Big Brother power — is rediscovering his old, bad, brilliant self.

Frank didn’t dig Boogie’s plan, though. He put Jojo and Shane up on the block. Britney was not happy. Her game was falling to pieces, like a skyscraper in a Christopher Nolan movie. “I feel like I just take on all of the guilt,” she said. “This is a terrible place to be in. I’m kind of at a loss.” The Veto competition was stacked high with collaborators in the Boogie/Janelle alliance: Wil, Ian, and Smashley.

Oh, Smashley. Fellow viewers, I usually try to maintain a certain amount of aesthetic distance from the shows that I recap. That’s not a personal choice. The first two rules of recapping, written in blood and co-signed by Messrs. Barrett and Jensen, clearly state: “First, do no harm, unless harm is funny, in which case bombs away! Second, do not become emotionally connected to the subjects of your recaps.” But I can’t help it! I have these feelings inside of me. It’s like someone stuck a bag filled with burning butterflies inside of my stomach, and the smoke from the burning butterflies is making my heart sneeze. When I look at Smashley, my brain goes all stupid. I just want to sit on the couch and play Beemo with her.

And I think the feeling might be mutual, maybe. Midway through the episode, Smashley announced her intention to marry a man. She didn’t know who he was…and yet, she knew exactly who he was. “Roughly five years older than me,” she said. “I’d preferably like him to have his own business. Looks aren’t huge for me, I’ve dated my share of frogs. Loves going out to eat, loves sex snacks, loves movies, loves to play Monopoly all night long. Likes to travel, likes to work out, likes to look at the stars, likes to eat food, like to sleep, and… I think that’s all.” Like 67% of that describes me perfectly, which constitutes an A- thanks to the shoddy grade-inflated education standards of these United States.

NEXT: A thoughtful examination of the shifting demographics of modern-day America visàvis the expanded socio-political importance of the Hispanic-American population. Also, salsa!

In the previous episode, the Coaches got to re-enact the early ’90s hip-hop scene. Last night, the Big Brother game creators continued their deracinated tour through American subcultures by forcing the Veto contestants to dress up like tortilla chips and dive into pools of salsa, cheese, and beans in order to find specific menu items. Basically, it looked like the kitchen of your local Taco Bell. That perfectly cued up tonight’s edition of Words of Wisdom with Smashley: “I’m just excited, ’cause I know that this chip is dipping in some good stuff.” Marry me.

The Veto competish quickly turned into a man-to-man faceoff between Ian and Shane. Shane admitted: “I have a very bad short-term memory.” Ian proudly explained: “I practically have a photographic memory.” The Shane/Ian showdown was tense, partly because Shane’s entire career in the Big Brother house was riding on his winning the veto, partly because Shane looks like Billy Zabka’s fascist cousin and Ian looks like what happens when Clive Howard asexually reproduces. Meanwhile, Smashley explained her methodology: “I would go to the board, and then I would remember the first four letters of each word. B for burrito, F for fajitas. I feel like fajita was spelled weird.” Smashley proceeded to finish her menu last, and she still only got 13 out of 16 right. “I don’t believe if there was a fire under her tail that she would move fast,” said Joe. “She is slower than pond water.” Pause to imagine Smashley as a being comprised of pond water, and she has a pond-water tail, and it’s on fire, but she doesn’t care, because she’s eating a fajita. Swoon.

Shane came in first by a nose — the second Veto competition he’s won in a row. Britney tackled him into the salsa, rejoicing. She sees Shane as her meal ticket. But Shane revealed himself as more than just a pretty face. He went upstairs to talk shop with Frank and Boogie. I was definitely a coaching-twist skeptic, but I like how — so far, at least — keeping the coach in the same room as the HoH has created a complicated new power schematic. The HoH is still in charge of the house, but the coach is their chief adviser, and the complex interplay there is interesting. Frank looked at Shane as a potential ally. Boogie, though, called Shane “that wounded animal you find in the woods that’s got its leg in the bear trap. You bring it home, you nurse it back to health, and then you know what you have? A very loyal pet.” And now you know how Mike Boogie became King of the Raccoons!

Boogie demanded Shane to say nothing to Britney. So Shane didn’t. Mama Brit-Brit asked point blank: “Did they offer you any deals.” Shane said “No, Ma’am, not a thing, cough cough, I swears it.” Jojo flashed Shane a look. I think she knows the score. Or maybe she just can’t take her eyes off those Mount Rushmore cheekbones.

NEXT: “Coach Dan has a plan,” says Coach Dan.

Meanwhile, over in the saddest corner of the house, Dan tried to light a fire under his last remaining pupil. Of all the coaches who returned this season, I think it’s fair to say that Dan made the worst teammate selection. Dan’s Lady Trio couldn’t compete physically, so they lost the game’s first battle. Then Dan opted to double down on hotness and sent kindhearted Jodi home, leaving him with the world’s shyest Playmate and the world’s least sassy Southern gal. Now his hopes all rest with Danielle. To all evidence, Danielle is an absolute sweetheart who has been marginalized from Day One. Dan decided that, in order to save her, he would have to abandon her. “It’s graduation day, fourth quarter,” he said. “The coach is on the sidelines.”

It was kind of like Dan threw Danielle into a lions’ den, and then poured a lot of gasoline into the lions’ den, and then ordered a flamethrower battalion to fire directly into the lions’ den, and then yelled “Quick, Danielle, jump higher than any human being has ever jumped!” She was not inspired. She asked Shane who he was voting for, and Shane said “Um, uh, err, well, heehee, uh.” She fled to the espionage room and cried.

But Danielle didn’t realize that Shane had a plan. He wanted to save Jojo; he wanted to save Danielle; he wanted to please his new partners/overseers Frank and Boogie. So Shane concocted a scheme that would have, in one masterstroke, rescued two flailing teams and potentially demolished a powerful squadron. “Backdoor Wil,” explained Shane. “Go after Janelle’s team.” This was a smart move. In a week that has been dominated by the rise of Team Boogie, the fall of Team Britney, and the absolute irrelevance of Team Dan, nobody seems to notice that Janelle has positioned her gang very well. Janelle has kept Smashley, Wil, and Joe in line, offering them first to Britney and then to Boogie as a solid voting bloc. It seems like they could float along on pure likability; certainly, besides maybe Wil, they’re not a serious competition threat.

Shane proffered the idea of a Janelle offensive to Frank. You could tell right away that Frank didn’t like it. Again, this is the John Wayne in Frank. He doesn’t vibe backstabber, and this week he’s loyal to Janelle. “It’s a little bit too early to put up Wil,” he explained. “I don’t want to rock the boat just yet.” So he put Danielle up on the block next to Jojo. It looks to me like Jojo is a goner: All toxic residue left by King Willie is clinging to her. Getting Jojo out of the house is the smart move…for the players. But I get the sense that Boogie and Janelle are smelling Dan’s blood in the water. Maybe they’ll try to kick out his last player. Dan, for his part, had this final word: “Coach Dan has a secret ploy that he hasn’t played yet, even if it means throwing Britney and Jojo under the bus.” Ah, I see! So, two weeks into the game, with his team in shambles, Coach Dan is finally about to deploy his secret gambit! Well, good to see that everything is going to plan.

Fellow Big Brother viewers, how do you see tomorrow’s elimination episode wrapping up? Is Jojo going home? Can Danielle hold on long enough to rescue Coach Dan’s legacy? And if Danielle does go home, will Dan join the game as a regular contestant? And let’s get theoretical for a second here: If Shane wins the HoH competition, how do the power dynamics in the house shift? Would he take on Frank? Or would he be better off launching a full-scale assault on the Janelle Trio?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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